Passage: John 13:18-30
Speaker: Steve Hands
Series: Core Values – Discipleship
Transformed As We Follow The Betrayed
Betrayal stings. To build a friendship over time over shared meals and memories is a precious investment. To feel that a friend stabs us in the back feels almost unforgivable. How do we respond to people who betray us? During this season of Lent we are exploring our value of discipleship: we are transformed as we follow Jesus. Following Jesus means following Him to the cross. And in John 13:18–30 we see that strengthened by God’s gracious Word, Jesus breaks bread with his betrayer even at night. May we also be strengthened by that gracious Word to be transformed as we follow Jesus to break bread even with our betrayer. How is that possible?
First, Jesus is strengthened by God’s gracious Word (John 13:18–20). He quotes Ps 41:9, “He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me,” where the Psalmist can endure betrayal from a friend because he is confident that the LORD delights in him (Ps 41:11). This grace and promise from God’s Word strengthens Jesus, and he strengthens his disciples with this Word so that when his betrayal happens, they might “might believe that I am he” (John 13:19). Similarly we must be strengthened by God’s gracious Word and confident in his delight in us if we are to persevere through and not be crushed by betrayal.
As a result , Jesus breaks bread with his betrayer(John 13:21–26). Jesus obviously was not looking forward to being betrayed and crucified; he was “troubled in his spirit” (John 13:21). Yet this trouble of spirit does not provoke an angry rant or stony silence, but Jesus breaks bread with his betrayer. He identifies Jesus gently with clarity but not condemnation. There is a tenderness in his care for Judas.
Yet we must not minimize the difficulty of this for he breaks bread with his betrayer even at night(John 13:27–30). Night is a loaded term for John, for Jesus is the light of the world. Yet as Judas takes this bread, “Satan enters into him,” and as he goes out to betray Jesus, “it was night” (John 13:27, 30). The darkness of the hour is evident. Though the darkness of the hour often brings out the darkest parts of our own hearts, Jesus responds with light even in this darkest hour.
So how do we deal with those who hurt and betray us? If we are transformed by following Jesus, then we follow the One who breaks bread with his betrayer. How can we ever break bread with those who betrayed us? It is only because Jesus broke bread with us when we betrayed him. Yet the bread that he breaks with us, the bread of his broken body, is the power by which we are strengthened to break bread with those who betray us. May we draw near to Jesus today, that we might by his power break bread with those who betray us.